I hate the term birth mother – especially pre-birth

24 Sep
I hate the term – others love the term.  They can love the term for their own reasons but it physically destroys me, especially when it is used pre-birth as in the baby has not been born and the papers aren’t even signed.  Can someone explain a logical reason why agencies promote the use of the term birth mother?  Is it to play mind games on both the mother and hopeful mother?  To get them so accustomed to the roles of giving and taking a child from one family to another – long before it even happens? 
Does it psychologically assist manipulate the mother to place?  Does it psychologically assist manipulate the hopeful mother to accept a baby that is not yours by birth, because once the papers are signed you hold the title of mother, and the mother has always been just the birth mother?  Does it disenfranchise the hopeful parent from acknowledging that the mother is giving up her child because she was already a birth mother?  Does it make the transaction easier?
When a mother has a child growing inside of her – she is just a mother.  No more – No less. Give her respect and don’t call her a birth mother.  And even if she does relinquish her baby to you – still don’t call her a birth mother – she is still the mother of your child and will be for life – respect her for who she is as a person and who she is to your child.  Or always refer to yourself as adoptive mother and your child as your adopted child.  And it goes without saying that I apply the same thoughts to the term birth father…Qualifiers offend me in adoption. 
I dream of the day I can read a hopeful parents through adoption blog and not see the term birth mother…and please don’t even think of using the term “our birth mother”…
Edited to add – I do understand using qualifiers in some instances but when it can be clearly understood there is no need.

Posted by on September 24, 2010 in Ethics


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5 responses to “I hate the term birth mother – especially pre-birth

  1. Acceptance-with-Joy

    September 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    All my children came into my home through adoption. We never use birth mother or birth father, nor do we say adoptive parent. We say mother to describe and honor the woman who gave birth to them. We talk about our children’s father; the man whose genes they share. We only have one father who remains involved in his child’s life. One father died. Another abandoned the family before the child’s birth. I have never had to live in poverty. I don’t know what it would mean to a man to know he could not afford to feed his child. I don’t judge him. We speak of them all with respect. We are just parents — no adjectives needed. I hate the term birth mother too.


  2. The adopted ones

    September 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Acceptance with Joy – thanks for that comment. That’s how my parents were as well and perhaps it also made me a bit critical of how adoption is practiced today. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for being real.


  3. Susie

    September 25, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Does it psychologically assist manipulate the mother to place? YES

    And it worked very well with me. I never considered myself to be my son’s true mother. I believed I was more like an egg donor and incubator. Until reunion when I came out of the fog.



  4. The adopted ones

    September 26, 2010 at 3:51 pm


    That is what I have always assumed. So I assume that is the reason agencies still use the term which is incredibly sad to say the very least. Nothing like kicking someone when they are down.

    I know that even in my writing I have to be better about not using qualifiers for either side, because I never use them in real life.


  5. everyoneactdead

    October 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    i agree with you, and i think that is EXACTLY why adoption agencies/PAPs use that term pre-birth. it worked on me. i always considered myself a “birthmother” before the fact, and never a real mother. i think “mother” can include both mothers. after all, adoptive parents don’t continually call themselves adoptive parents.

    as you say, qualifiers can be used if it’s confusing without them, but when it is already clear who is being referred to, it seems rude. when i talk about my son’s parents, that’s what i call them. his parents. i doubt this is the case, but i’d prefer that if/when they speak of me, i am his mother, since it would be obvious which one they meant without using the “birth” prefix. at the very least, they know my name and they could simply call me by my name. i’m not just a vagina that squeezed out their baby, after all.



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